09 July 2013

Hot comme l’hiver

It had to happen eventually. The third of circus experiences left us feeling like we had strayed away from the circus festival and into a parallel zone with experimental theatre on the bill. My friend went so far as to call it this year’s Ro-Pu (see my roundup from last year’s festival for that Finnish winner).

It might be a little mean to drag them through the mud again this year, only to make a point about someone else. After all, what did they do to deserve this? Oh yeah. Horizontal rope tricks…clinging to a rope…on the floor. At least Voyage d’hiver went vertical every now and then, I’ll give them that.

I have speculated in the past that what seems to make circus interesting, at least to me, is the element of danger, and I might also add grace and beauty to that list. There was a bit of danger here that the company would depart from their soundtrack and that seems to have happened a couple of times (to my ears, anyway). The guy “playing” the whistling kettles almost had me convinced that he was manipulating the sound of the escaping steam with those tiny spoons and the lifting of the kettles. The second pass at that, however, his timing was a bit off and it became clear that it was all soundtrack.

The other slightly off element was a song near the end. Against a very spare background, I found myself very focused on the face and lips of the singer, soon exposed as a lip-syncher, albeit a very good one. It only takes a couple of off-expressions to expose the act, and the focusing of our attention so utterly didn’t help conceal it.

There was some darned wacky stuff that I would qualify as experimental theatre rather than circus. A rolling start (players in action even as the audience members made their way to their seats), nutty animal parts as costumes, a gathering of voyeuristic animals around the woman bathing in a tub of water, props aplenty, songs and speaking parts. Yes, a little acrobatics thrown in, but this was really not enough of a focus and there was little interaction around those parts. They seemed almost gratuitous. But hey, I’m no expert, as I always say.

A taste? You sure?

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